It might seem strange to say that to teachers who spend years learning how to be one. This is where education was first hijacked by a too narrow perspective.
One of the most important ideas I learned from neurolinguistics programming (NLP) is how to find a good teacher. Their definition of a good teacher is someone who not only can do the task well, but also knows HOW they do it. Obviously only someone who knows how to do a task can be considered to teach the skill to others. If I want someone to teach me how to bake bread, they can’t use vague instructions or terms like “add enough flour and water until the dough feels right.” The good teacher must be able to define “feels right” e.g. sticky to the touch but pulls off the side of the bowl easily. And yet, in spite of what should be an apparent qualification, historically the institution of education overlooked this important point. Most of you may remember when, as a student, you reached the age of departmentalization in school. At that point your teacher had a degree in the subject matter s/he taught rather than in education. While this has changed at the lower level, at the college level this still remains true!
However, if you understand the NLP principle I just shared, what teachers need to learn is not teaching methods, but rather learning methods! They need to understand how they learned and perform a given task so they can then teach others.
Arthur Benjamin is such a math teacher. He shares how he does math rather than follow textbook instruction. He can be seen on TEDx here https://www.ted.com/talks/arthur_benjamin_does_mathemagic?language=en
Today think of one thing that you are tasked with teaching.
Set aside the text book and think about how you do it. For a parent this may be a household chore, for a therapist this would be the skill you are trying to teach your client and for the classroom teacher this would be an academic task.
A master teacher would be one who understands the different ways that different people learn a singular subject.
More to come on lesson planning to help this, but for next time, “What is Teaching”
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